Species group: Parrotlets
Other common names: Common Parrotlet; Guiana Parrotlet
Scientific name: Forpus passerinus
The Green-Rumped Parrotlet is often considered to be the most gentle and easy to handle of the parrotlet species. This tiny gem holds the giant spirit of a much larger parrot, but it isn't as challenging as the Pacific Parrotlet, which can become a tiny terror if not properly socialized. These playful little birds like to tease by hiding, so you must always supervise them thoughtfully, so that you always know where they are and don't crush them by accident.
This parrotlet is common and expanding in northeastern South America, and it has recently been introduced, with varying degrees of success, to a number of Caribbean islands. It is common to abundant in open or partly open habitats, so it probably benefits from deforestation and the expanding human population. Noisy and talkative, the species is often observed foraging widely in humid areas for food, especially seeding grasses, in flocks of up to 50 birds or so.
The Green-rumped Parrotlet is a tiny green parrot. Although adult males do not possess the blue rumps of other Forpus species, they are still easy to sex, since the males have deep blue touches on the wings that the females lack.
20 - 28 grams (0.7 - 1 oz.)
12 centimeters (4.7 in.)
20 - 30 years
Behavior / temperament:
The Green-Rumped Parrotlet is often considered a relatively shy, relatively timid bird – but please keep in mind that many individuals are only “shy” compared to its famous relative, the Pacific Parrotlet. Your pet must be handled with sensitivity, so that you don't unnecessarily frighten the bird by sticking your hands in the cage or introducing new toys too quickly, but don't be surprised if your little Green-Rump is capable of territorial behavior. While the bird is still young, patiently but firmly teach it to step up on a handheld perch and ride from its cage to a neutral play area. Choose toys with care, removing items like mirrors or bells that seem to provoke biting or anger. Green-Rumped Parrotlets are capable of being outgoing, loving pets who want to spend lots of time with you. Start young, train the bird every day, and protect your pet from unnecessary noise and stress, and you will likely be pleasantly surprised at the self-confidence of this tiny gem. Keep one bird as a pet, and focus your undivided attention on that Green-Rump. If you have a pair, the birds turn their attention to each other and lose interest in being your pet.
A pet Green-Rumped Parrotlet should have a powder-coated metal cage of at least 24”w x 18”d x 24”h with a ½ inch bar spacing. Provide a variety of perches from bird-safe wood. Be aware that even though they're small, they can be territorial. You need to have a play area away from the cage where you can remove the bird every day, so that you can play together on neutral territory. Some people have reported that toys like bells or mirrors in the cage could cause the Parrotlet to become angry or aggressive, so watch carefully for that if you choose to supply those toys at all. Train your bird to step up on command on a perch or stick, so that you can easily remove it from the cage without an argument. These little birds don't know their own size, so you must handle them gently, yet somewhat assertively, to prevent them from deciding to stay in the cage and become dictator of their tiny domain. You may also be able to prevent them from becoming aggressive simply by paying attention and keeping the wings neatly clipped.
Some Green-Rumped Parrotlets are conservative and dislike changes to the cage. There are reports of birds being afraid of new toys. If you observe this behavior, always introduce a new toy by placing it near but not inside the cage for a few days, where the bird can inspect it safely from a distance. When the toy is no longer viewed as a threat, then you can place it in the cage.
Like their larger South American relatives, the Green-Rumped Parrotlet requires a nutrient-rich, varied diet, and they cannot be expected to subsist on seed alone. In the wild, Green-Rumped Parrotlets are known to eat grass seeds, buds, flowers, cactus fruits, and berries, and a good diet could be based on a high quality pellet, a limited amount of seed, and a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. They may also enjoy healthy cooked food from time to time like whole grain rice, beans, and whole grain pasta. You might also consider a good commercial or home-created soak and cook diet. There are many healthy fruits and vegetables that can be fed including apples, grapes, garden vegetables such as spinach, watercress, field lettuce, dandelions, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, endive, and well-cooked sweet potatoes. However, never feed avocado or chocolate to any bird, including Parrotlets.
Written by Elaine Radford
little beauties, gentle bird, smallest parrot, instant family member, playful birds
new surroundings, multiple household members, startle, mini mood swings
high metabolism, tiny little bird, wide vocabulary, reputable breeder
This little guys are cute, and entertaining as far as birds go. Very fun to watch, but I found them very hard to train and they would often have mini mood swings. Caution must be advised regarding interaction with other birds. Very often a Parrotlet will attack a much larger bird with no regard for their own small size. Particularly when they become mature enough to breed, they can become especially hostile toward other birds and animals, even my cats! They are tough little birds constantly trying to overcompensate for their size. They are funny, but can become exhausting to work with..
From kittypryde Nov 18 2012 2:43PM
Louie, our wonderful Parrotlet
We wanted a bird that our kids could grow up with and would not be afraid to handle, but something different than a Budgie. Since Parrotlets are the smallest parrot and they live 20-30 years, this seemed like the perfect option. We got Louie from a reputable breeder who spends a lot of time with her birds, so he was very tame when we brought him home.
Louie was an instant family member! I would have to force the kids to put him back in his cage. Otherwise, he was with us constantly because the kids loved him so much! Parrotlets are comical, fun, playful birds, but they are also very intelligent! Louie started picking up words like "Up" and "Hello". Some Parrotlets have been known to have a very wide vocabulary, up to 100 words!
Sadly, we had Louie for less than a year. One evening, we found him dead in the bottom of his cage. We couldn't figure out what in the world could have happened because we thought we were doing everything right! We had done our research about what to feed them and how to care for them properly. It wasn't until 2 years later, while talking to another bird breeder that we found out the potential cause, starvation. I can't even describe how horrible I felt! The breeder told me that when she first started breeding them, she had 3-4 people contact her because their Parrotlets had died this way.
These little guys have a very high metabolism, almost like a humming bird. Where I was used to feeding my Budgies once a day, I found out that we should have been giving Louie fresh food at least twice a day. It is very important that, even if their food dish looks full, you give them fresh food more than once a day! Sometimes when the dish looks full, it may be full of empty hulls! For the healthy and safety of the bird, you need to give them food more than once a day!
I would highly recommend a Parrotlet for a family! As I said above, just make sure you provide it with more food than you think it needs because their little bodies burn through it quickly! Otherwise, they are very sweet, intelligent, fun birds to own!.
From HollySingh Nov 24 2014 11:21AM